The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched a new Trustworthy AI Framework, becoming the first Federal agency to integrate all of the White House’s AI work into a single, public framework.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough announced the new framework in a speech at the VA last week, noting that it incorporates work ranging from the White House’s Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights to Executive Order 14091, which emphasizes the importance of incorporating unbiased protections in all AI activities.

“This Trustworthy AI Framework provides the foundation on which VA will design, develop, acquire, and use AI systems in a manner that fosters veteran trust and confidence, delivering timely access to world-class health care and earned benefits by leveraging emerging AI technologies, all while adhering to the highest ethical standards, including protecting veterans’ privacy and civil rights,” McDonough said.

“This framework will help us build AI that is safe, secure, unbiased, transparent, accountable, and effective,” he added. “All of which is to say, building trustworthy AI to complete the tasks that it does best, so VA’s people can do the work that they do best.”

The framework was officially approved for agency-wide use in July, and is based on six principles: purposeful, effective and safe, secure and private, fair and equitable, transparent and explainable, accountable and monitored.

The agency said it is committed to implementing the framework based on the highest Federal standards “to promote veteran trust in AI-delivered health care and benefits services.”

The VA secretary stressed that “there is no greater privilege” than having the trust of veterans, and there is “no higher bar to meet” when veterans are trusting the VA with their lives.

“Our vision for building trustworthy AI is personal, and it’s urgent,” McDonough said. “Because vets deserve our very best, and we will never settle for anything less.”

The VA’s National Artificial Intelligence Institute (NAII) has also included trustworthy AI in the VA Artificial Intelligence Strategy – which NAII released in July 2021.

Read More About
More Topics
Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.